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International Business Cycles and the Dynamics of the Current Account

  • Elliott, Graham
  • Fatás, Antonio

This paper analyses the transmission of productivity shocks across countries and how the responses of investment and the current account differ depending on the degree of propagation of the shocks. We explore both issues by estimating a structural model for Japan, the United States and Europe. We postulate, as an identifying assumption, that the propagation of shocks is proportional to trade. We find that there is a strong asymmetry in that shocks to the United States propagate quickly to the other two economies, while European and Japanese shocks have little impact on other countries' productivity. We find that productivity increases lead to domestic investment booms and current account deficits. Investment in other countries tends to react positively to productivity shocks, even when the shock is purely national. This second result contradicts the predictions of a standard open-economy model with perfect capital mobility where, in response to country-specific shocks, domestic and foreign investment should move in opposite directions. We also find quantitative differences among the three countries in the response of the current account. These differences are not related to the global or idiosyncratic nature of the shocks.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1280.

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Date of creation: Nov 1995
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1280
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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1986. "Capital mobility in the world economy: Theory and measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 55-103, January.
  2. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1987. "International real business cycles," Working Papers 426, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-29, June.
  4. Tesar, L.L., 1988. "Savings, Investment And International Capital Flows," Papers 64, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  5. Reuven Glick & Kenneth Rogoff, 1992. "Global versus country-specific productivity shocks and the current account," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 92-06, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  7. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1994. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The J-Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 84-103, March.
  8. Ahmed, Shaghil & Ickes, Barry W. & Ping Wang & Byung Sam Yoo, 1993. "International Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 335-59, June.
  9. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1981. "The Current Account and macroeconomic Adjustment in the 1970s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 201-282.
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